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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew's passing

Not trying to jump on the bandwagon but I think this is a day I would like to pen down my thoughts, as a Singaporean, of how and what I was doing when I received the news of Lee Kuan Yew's passing.

It happened in the middle of the night, I took a nap after dinner and woke up at 2am. For some unknown reasons, I could not fall asleep and was feeling a little nauseaous. It must be the aircon, I thought. So I turned it off and sat in front of the com, watching Key & Peele's videos. It was quite funny, then I needed a break and decided to go to Facebook. I had not expected to see any updates as most people would be sound asleep at 4am in the morning. But yeah, that was when I saw it.

We had all expected it somehow, but did not know how we would receive it. Tears welled up, I know the impact of this news is going to strike hard to people who know him. It's 4am in the morning, everyone is sound asleep and I am probably the first few to know. Dawn is a thousand miles away, and I cannot imagine how the people in Singapore would feel, waking up to this saddening piece of news. I could not sleep still, so I went downstairs to grab a cup corn from McDonald's.

Walking along the streets, the silence of the dead night was just about to get broken by morning sounds of people arousing from their slumber.Somewhere out there, alarm clocks are ringing and there are more vehicles on the road. There are taxi drivers that had gathered at coffeeshops for their morning cup of coffee, someone was walking her dog on the street, and as I entered Mcdonald's, few youngsters are watching the Barcelona vs Roma game (ended at 2:1 btw). I wondered, do they know that a great leader had just passed away? I would think not, if they weren't actively using Facebook or on social media sites.

Definitely, Lee Kuan Yew had ruled with an iron fist and made some unpopular decisions. But it had led Singapore from a 3rd world country to where it is today, in a mere time span of 50 years. We rose up from the post-war rumbles to enjoy economic success, shiny skyscrapers and international recognition. I don't think this is something that can be downplayed from Lee Kuan Yew and leadership. We cannot just praise him alone for the success of Singapore, but we have do know that he had taken charge of an excellent and driven team that had the same vision as he does. We may or may not know, but be rest assured that he had well rewarded those who fought on and forge forth with him.

My favourite image of him would be this:

The devotion, love and respect for his wife is absolutely remarkable. I do believe that this is the kind of love many girls hope to have.

And this is an image taken by Alex Yam

"As he lays a fatherly hand on the back of Chee Kiang, a young well-wisher, for a photo, it was that same moment that he turned round and just gazed at the many tributes left for Mr Lee." -Alex Yam. If you go to the original image and zoom in on PM Lee's face, this is sadness on the face of not a politician, but of a son.

Should you want to read articles about Lee Kuan Yew, I have already consolidated a few links here for you to read. Personally, I enjoy readng simple articles and those that does not refer the people around him by their last names. Just seems a little rude if you ask me. Here you go:

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew: Tender side that not many see - Former chief investment officer of Government of SIC
‘He will never say: Do this, do that’ -Dr Lee Suan Yew on Singapore and Arts
'I did not feel regimented or restricted' Lee Hsien Yang on his father
Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wife's death left a void in his life - Lee Kuan Yew's life after his wife's passing
Remembering Lee Kuan Yew: Brother used his wits to help family Lee Kuan Yew's sister, Monica

Mr Lee’s body will lie in state at Parliament House from 25 March (Wednesday) to 28 March (Saturday), for the public to pay their respects. Those who wish to pay their last respects at Parliament House can do so from 10 am to 8 pm daily from Wednesday to Saturday.

A State Funeral Service will be held at 2 pm on 29 March (Sunday) at the University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore.

The State Funeral Service will be attended by the late Mr Lee’s family, friends and staff, the President, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, Old Guards, senior civil servants, grassroots leaders and Singaporeans from all walks of life. The State Funeral Service will be followed by a private cremation at Mandai Crematorium.

Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. No words could describe my gratitude for the things you have done for Singapore and her people.
Rest in peace.

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